Blaze hit school rising from the ashes

STAFF and pupils at a Suffolk middle school have been given a glimpse of what their new school will look like - just 12 weeks after a fire destroyed the entire building.

Dave Gooderham

STAFF and pupils at a Suffolk middle school have been given a glimpse of what their new school will look like - just 12 weeks after a fire destroyed the entire building.

The “high quality accommodation” at St Felix Middle School in Newmarket should mean education can return to the site before Christmas with pupils currently being taught at a mix of primary and secondary schools in the area.

Lisa Chambers, county councillor for Newmarket, described the work in the last three months as incredible after admitting the August 5 fire had left everyone wondering whether a school could ever be rebuilt.


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But yesterday, the shell of a two-storey portable cabin was lifted into place.

She said: “I would like to acknowledge all the hard work by the county council staff, teachers, governors and even pupils who have rallied round to make the best of what has been a bad situation.

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“Everyone was faced with a difficult situation after losing the school in just a matter of hours and it is a tremendous achievement in just 12 weeks.”

The building will now be fitted with state-of-the-art facilities. It is not clear how long the pupils will remain in the new structure with the schools reorganisation review - which could see middle schools in the area scrapped altogether - also coming into the equation.

To help raise funds for the school, an auction of promises has been organised for November 7 and backed by top jockey, Frankie Dettori, who has donated racing clothing. The school has also received a £500 donation of sports equipment from national company Davies Sport.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “Pupils returned to school in September to continue learning. Officers from the county council, working in partnership with the school, made sure alternative accommodation and facilities were found for the start of term.

“A number of short term arrangements were put in place, which involved pupils attending primary and secondary schools in the Newmarket area.

“Work is under way to bring the school back together on the St Felix site as soon as possible after half term. The school will be a two storey building constructed in a horse-shoe formation with classrooms that are spacious, light and airy.”

A 14-year-old boy has been charged with arson at the school and is awaiting trial at crown court.

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